If you are into energy – and finding it in a can on the shelf – you have surely heard so many of the stories involved in the great energy debate…. are they bad for me? There are a lot of conflicting statements, and you have to wonder – is it a competing company putting all of the scary stories out into the vast internet universe, or is there real science behind the concerns surrounding these products?
My answer, after considerable reading (hours and hours and hours of searching, reading and listening), there is defininely some of both. Yes, there are a lot of rumors and mis-statements. But there is a lot of science out there too. And there is a lot of information in the middle. Here are a few of the concerns I have gleaned, and some proposed solutions for you.
1. Many of these energy drinks contain a lot of calories. And those calories come from carbohydrates. Now if you are running a marathon or playing in a 3-day softball tournament, then that may not be such a bad thing. But if you are one of the daily drinkers just to get through class or work, this could add significant pounds. Additionally, even when you drink one of the “low-calorie” versions, you have to consider what has been replaced, which is usually an artificial sweetener and stimulants, which could be causing untold problems for your health long-term. While there has been little research as of yet because these products are not long in the market-place, we do know that artificial stimulants and some sweeteners can cause liver, kidney and heart problems when ingested in high quantities. Depending on your physical make-up – this could mean if you are drinking them frequently, these chemical and artificial ingredients are building up and causing you short-term problems like digestive and intestinal issues, as well as long-term results such as organ, brain or body chemistry imbalances.
2. They “Pump You Up”, only to let you down. Most, if not all, who consume these beverages, have a noticeable boost in energy, only to become sluggish and almost life-less within a couple of hours after drinking them. This is simply common sense. What goes up, must come down. And so it becomes a vicious cycle, needing more and more of the drink, just to function. There are many who have become dependent upon the beverages, much like those of my “generation” (yes, I am right there in the middle of those baby-boomers and gen-X’ers) used to be dependent on Mtn. Dew and Diet Coke! And lets not even get started on the daily “need” for coffee and espresso! But the principle is the same: if you become dependent on them even to just get through the day, you are not functioning at your highest capacity. The swings in the chemical balance alone will cause you to have great productive times, then drop to the inability to think through even a simple problem or issue. We become conditioned to the cycle, and fall into the excuse of just accepting it as what is instead of finding opportunity to get a “natural high” that can sustain us throughout the day, without the highs and lows and problem side-effects.
3. Where is the nutrition? These energy drinks are marketed to accomplish one thing: boost energy! Some claims even say that they decrease your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and get good nutrition at the cellular level. Since the absorption of nutrients is slower, there is a large chance that the fluid absorption rate of the body is also slower. Difficulty in natural re-hydration of the body during or after any type of exertion can cause danger to your health. Athletes, who lose great quantities of fluids during games and practices, should be aware of this circumstance for they are one the target markets of energy drinks.
Is there a solution to this? YES! If you insist that you just can’t get through your day without 1 or 2 or 3 of these energy drinks, then you need to be sure that you have good nutrition and support to counter-act the possible side-effects! This likely means a sound supplementation program, which will support your cardio-vascular system, cellular nutrition, absorption of nutrients, re-hydration and consider a healthy, natural energy boost that can even out the ups and downs you experience using these drinks. Now please forgive me, but I am about to sound like your mother….. you could always stop drinking them! Find a good natural energy boost! I know of 2 great ones that won’t make you crash. You will be highly productive. You won’t be swinging from the chandelier, but you won’t be wallowing in the basement later either. Your heart won’t race, you won’t have a sugar rush, but you will function at a higher level than before. And after-all, isn’t that really why you were drinking these in the first place?
Please enjoy our energy video on YouTube.